What Are the Health Benefits of Wheatgrass?

Wheatgrass is a grass that is closely related to wheat. It is a thick, dry grass that looks like hay or straw. It has played a role in natural and holistic medicine for generations.

Wheatgrass is harvested early in its development before it reaches full size — usually 7-10 days after sprouting. Grown primarily to make hay, or for animals to graze, wheatgrass may also offer several health benefits.

Wheatgrass is sometimes called “green blood” because it contains high levels of chlorophyll that gives wheatgrass products an unusual green hue.

Fast facts on wheatgrass:

  • Wheatgrass first became popular in the United States in the 1930s.
  • Wheatgrass must be processed before being consumed.
  • Some studies suggest that wheatgrass can improve health.
  • There is no evidence that wheatgrass poses health risks unless a person is allergic to it.

What is wheatgrass?

wheatgrass and wheatgrass drink

Wheatgrass has a number of health benefits and first became popular in the United States in the 1930s.

In the 1930s, agricultural chemist Charles F. Schnabel used young grasses to try to save dying chickens. The chickens survived and produced more eggs than other hens.

Quaker Oats and other companies began funding research into the benefits, and soon wheatgrass supplements, juices, and powders were widely available. Proponents of wheatgrass say that it is dense in plant nutrients that can improve health and offer supplemental nutrition.

When people consume the raw grass, they usually do so as part of a juice. Powdered wheatgrass is also available in capsules, liquid suspensions, or as a powder to add to smoothies.

Benefits of wheatgrass

Some of the benefits of wheatgrass include:

Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory

Wheatgrass can be used to help relieve stomach pain and improve symptoms of other gastrointestinal problems.

Some studies have shown that wheatgrass acts as an antioxidant because of it contains vitamins A, C, and E.

Antioxidants reverse the effects of free radicals. These volatile compounds in the body have links to aging and other health issues, including cancer. Antioxidants help fight chronic inflammation, which occurs when the immune system reacts to particular health issues, such as arthritis, stomach problems, skin issues. Antioxidants might even help with mental health concerns, such as depression.

Many health benefits of wheatgrass may be due to its role as an antioxidant. So it may offer benefits similar to many other plant-based foods.

Cancer prevention and treatment

Like other antioxidants, wheatgrass may help prevent cancer. It could also supplement traditional cancer treatments. A 2017 study found that wheatgrass could slow the growth of oral cancer.

Other studies have reached similar conclusions. A 2015 study, for example, found that wheatgrass slowed the growth of colon cancer and caused some cancer cells to die.

Wheatgrass may also improve the effects of chemotherapy. One study has found wheatgrass can reduce side effects associated with chemotherapy.

Fighting infections

Some research has found that wheatgrass can kill or slow the growth of certain infections. This can be especially helpful in the treatment of infections that are resistant to antibiotics, or in people who are allergic to specific antibiotics.

2015 study carried out in a test tube found that wheatgrass has antimicrobial properties that can fight certain types of strep infections, as well as some forms of a bacteria called LactobacillusLactobacillus bacteria play a role in many infections, including dental infections.

Treating gastrointestinal distress

Practitioners of traditional medicine have long used wheatgrass to reduce stomach pain and manage minor gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea.

The purported gastrointestinal benefits of wheatgrass may be partially due to its fiber content. Wheatgrass is gluten-free, making it a good option for people with gluten intolerance.

Some research suggests that wheatgrass may be particularly useful in treating ulcerative colitis. Compared to a placebo, wheatgrass appears to reduce pain and other symptoms in some people.

For people who do not see improvements using traditional medications, wheatgrass might be an alternative remedy.

Preventing and treating diabetes

Research has found that wheatgrass may benefit those with diabetes. A 2014 study on rats, for example, found that wheatgrass could raise insulin levels, helping to lower blood glucose. By fighting inflammation, wheatgrass may also help reduce the side effects of diabetes.

Preliminary research points to the power of wheatgrass to fight obesity. Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes and can intensify the adverse health effects of diabetes.

Nutritional breakdown

In addition to the health benefits, wheatgrass offers a number of nutrients that are essential as part of a balanced diet.

Though low in calories, wheatgrass is a good source of protein. It is not, however, a complete protein. Like most plant-based foods, wheatgrass is an excellent source of fiber, which can help reduce blood glucose. Wheatgrass can also support healthy digestion and help people feel full for longer than they usually would.

Wheatgrass is a good source of vitamins A, C, E, and K, and of vitamin B6, zinc, iron, selenium, and manganese.

Risks

People who are allergic to other grasses may also be allergic to wheatgrass. Likewise, due to cross-contamination and cross-pollination, it is possible for wheatgrass to contain the pollen of other plants.

People with plant allergies should consult a doctor before trying wheatgrass.

Side effects

Some people experience nausea or constipation after consuming wheatgrass, perhaps due to its high fiber content. People with a history of constipation should talk to a doctor before trying wheatgrass.

Sometimes, the raw form of wheatgrass is contaminated by mold or bacteria. If preparing wheatgrass at home, wash it thoroughly to remove contaminants before using.

When consuming wheatgrass supplements, buy only from a trusted source. Consider contacting the manufacturer to ask what steps it takes to reduce the risk of contamination.

Wheatgrass taste and ideas for consumption

Wheatgrass tastes like grass, and it can overpower other flavors.

How to make it taste better

Mixing raw wheatgrass in a smoothie can still produce a drink that tastes like something out of a lawnmower. But combining wheatgrass with other ingredients that have a strong taste, such as pineapple or citrus fruit, can help balance the flavor.

Ways to consume wheatgrass

vegetable and fruit juices

Including citrus fruit or pineapple in a wheatgrass drink can help to improve the taste.

Some people prefer to take powdered wheatgrass in capsule form. This almost eliminates the taste and can make it easier to get a daily dose of the grass.

A few wheatgrass supplement manufacturers offer flavored wheatgrass capsules or tablets that include citrus fruits or other dominant flavors.

For people who prefer not to experiment with smoothie or juice recipes, these may offer a tasty solution.

Also,

Many studies on the benefits of wheatgrass have produced promising results but have not been well designed. This means it is not possible to know for sure whether wheatgrass can treat or prevent any specific medical condition.

Because most people tolerate wheatgrass well, it is safe to use alongside other treatments. Nobody should take wheatgrass as a substitute for medical treatment. To test the benefits of wheatgrass, try a daily wheatgrass smoothie or supplement.

As research evolves, it may become clear that wheatgrass is an effective medical treatment for other medical conditions. For now, however, the research is inconclusive.

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10 Aloe Vera Uses You Probably Didn’t Know About

Aloe vera, also known as Aloe barbadensis, has been a staple resource in many cultures around the world for thousands of years. While the plant originated in southern Africa, you can find it growing around the world in places as varied as the Mediterranean and the southern United States. Traditional uses for aloe vera include soothing burns, moisturizing skin, and helping small wounds heal.

There are a lot of nutrients and potential health benefits packed into this easy-to-maintain plant—over 200 different biologically active substances. Because of its impressive profile, it’s used in lotions, ointments, creams, sunburn remedies, and many other types of cosmetics. Many people even apply it to acne, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s take a look at some uses you may not know about.

1. Aloe Vera Supports the Immune System

Your immune system requires oxygen-rich blood. Aloe vera supports nutrient absorption from the gut; this includes iron absorption. Iron carries free oxygen molecules from your lungs around the body, and proper iron absorption is a key factor in maintaining blood-oxygen levels. One of the ways aloe helps you absorb nutrients is by keeping the digestive tract clear of debris through bowel regularity. This allows the food you’ve eaten to better come into contact with the intestinal lining, increasing nutrient exposure and absorption.

Aloe also acts as an adaptogen, which helps keep your cells and tissues in balance. It makes the immune system’s job easier by protecting cells from oxidative stress and other factors that disrupt their function.

Aloe vera is a rich source of polysaccharides. Research shows these complex sugars improve the efficiency of the immune system. Aloe is also rich in the antioxidants that protect cells from free radical damage.

2. Aloe Vera Supports Normal Digestion

Aloe vera contains two enzymes—amylase and lipase—that help encourages normal digestion. The plant also helps keep your stomach acid levels balanced to support a normal gut environment.

Aloe contains acemannan. Acemannan and other polysaccharides are prebiotics that supports probiotics in the gut. When you have these ‘good guys’ in your gut, you’re apt to digest your food better, get more nutritional value from it, and enjoy better overall health. A University of California, Davis study found that people who consumed aloe vera were able to more efficiently absorb vitamins C and B-12.

3. Eases Digestive Discomfort

Common digestive concerns like gas, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain affect a lot of people. If you’re looking for a natural solution to ease your digestive discomfort, then aloe vera may be able to help. Studies show decreased gas, bloating, and discomfort in those who take regular aloe supplements.

Some preliminary research suggests aloe may also help with certain types of intestinal ulcer. In a clinical trial, 30 patients suffering from the condition were given aloe vera by mouth. Fourteen of the thirty patients reported some form of improvement; only four patients in the placebo group reported improvement.

Aloe is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, including:

  • Vitamin A (beta-carotene): Important for healthy skin, teeth, bones, and eyes.
  • Vitamin C: Vital for metabolism, skin health, and immune function.
  • Vitamin E: Protects the skin from UV damage.
  • Vitamin B12: Keeps nerve and brain cells healthy. Necessary for DNA replication.
  • Folic acid: Essential for brain function, liver health, and metabolism.
  • Choline: Supports metabolism and the production of neurotransmitters responsible for memory, focus, and a positive mood.
  • Calcium
  • Chromium
  • Copper
  • Selenium
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Zinc

5. Aloe Vera Is a Great Source of Nutrients and Enzymes

Aloe vera is often called a superfood because, in addition to vitamins and minerals, it offers more than 200 other bioavailable nutrients. It’s especially rich in the following enzymes, which support metabolism, hormone function, digestion, and detoxification:

  • Alliinase
  • Alkaline phosphatase
  • Amylase
  • Bradykinase
  • Carboxypeptidase
  • Catalase
  • Cellulase
  • Lipase
  • Peroxidase

There is a group of nutrients known as secondary metabolites which are found in aloe and other plants. Some of these include aloe emodin, chrysophanol, aloesin, and aloin. Research shows these nutrients can offer a number of other significant health benefits which include antioxidant support.

6. Aloe Supports Cardiovascular Health

Aloe vera is a rich source of beneficial plant compounds called phytosterols. Phytosterols promote normal lipid levels and support cardiovascular health. In a five-year study of 5,000 heart disease patients, researchers found those who consumed aloe vera and another plant called Husk of Isabgol had better lipid and blood sugar levels.

7. Aloe Vera Boosts Dental Health

A recent study involving 345 participants suggests aloe makes an effective mouthwash that supports healthy teeth and gums. Other research indicates that aloe vera gel can help resist Candida albicans, a common oral yeast.

8. Aloe Resists Harmful Organisms

Some plants contain a variety of chemicals and compounds that help suppress harmful organisms. Aloe vera itself contains six separate antiseptic agents: lupeol, salicylic acid, urea nitrogen, cinnamic acid, phenols, and sulfur.

9. Aloe Vera Is Ultra Soothing

Aloe vera is ultra-soothing for cuts, sunburns, and scrapes. Whether it is a topical gel, lotion, or just breaking open a fresh leaf and rubbing it onto a problem area, aloe helps calm red, swollen, and irritated skin. One reason for its soothing properties is an enzyme called bradykinase that helps soothe agitated tissue.

10. Aloe Vera May Have Anti-Aging Properties

Aloe vera does more than soothing and moisturize. It also offers anti-ageing benefits that smooth the appearance of wrinkles from the inside out. In one study, 30 women over the age of 45 took an aloe vera gel supplement for 90 days. By the end of the study, the appearance of facial wrinkles softened, and their skin looked healthier.

History of Aloe Vera

While the benefits of aloe are impressive, they’re not entirely new to us. We are only rediscovering what our ancestors already knew. Egyptians prized the plant over 6,000 years ago. One of the first mentions of aloe vera appears in the Papyrus Ebers around B.C. 1550, which shows 12 formulas for using aloe vera therapeutically. It proved so useful that it was known as the “Plant of Immortality.” People would even present aloe vera as a burial gift to deceased pharaohs. It is widely believed that Egyptian queens Nefertiti and Cleopatra used aloe vera cosmetically.

Egypt was not the only part of the world that found value in the aloe vera plant. As early as 600 BC, there’s record of Arab traders bringing aloe vera to India—which they called “desert lily.” Arabs were already separating the inner gel and sap from the outer rind, even grinding the leaves into powder. This aloe powder was highly valued. In fact, records from as early as the 17th century show the East India Trading Company relied heavily on aloe for its commercial value.

With such amazing historical uses, aloe vera has earned nicknames from all around the globe–names like the “silent healer”, “sabila” “burn plant”, “ghai kunwar”, “elephant’s gall”, “isha irazu”, “cape aloe”, the “medicine plant”, and the “first aid plant”. And, while there are many other aloe species, none are so heavily utilized as aloe vera.

Today, aloe vera gel is a common additive in beauty products and used for a wide arrange burns, cuts, and other skin concerns. Many people drink aloe vera juice for its nutritional value. You can even find edible gels from the inner leaf of the plant in many grocery stores, and it has gained popularity as a smoothie ingredient.

Choosing the Right Aloe Vera

As more and more aloe products arrive on the market—gels, lotions, creams, juices, and capsules—it’s easier than ever to access the benefits of the plant. When choosing a supplement, always check the ingredients. Some products include fillers and may not contain the nutrients, ingredients, or concentrations you expect.

For a supplement with the full nutritional force of aloe, I recommend Aloe Fuzion™. It’s a highly bioavailable aloe vera supplement made from organic inner leaf aloe vera gel. It contains the most acemannan content of any aloe product available and the feedback has been outstanding.

Benefits of Aloe Vera

Although the gel of the plant is famous for its ability to take the sting and heat out of a sunburn, the beneficial properties of aloe vera, Aloe barbadensis, reach much further than skin deep. Ancient peoples have used this soothing plant for a wide range of applications, from controlling irritation to keeping wounds clean, and soothing gastrointestinal upset. New research reveals that aloe vera’s healing capabilities may be more numerous than previously believed. It has a wealth of health-promoting compounds to offer nearly all of the body’s systems.

What Nutrients Does Aloe Vera Contain?

Though you might not think of it for its nutritional qualities, aloe vera is an all-star superfood. It contains a broad spectrum of essential nutrients and beneficial plant compounds. At this point, about 75 different nutrients have been identified.

Vitamins In Aloe Vera

  • Vitamin A (beta-carotene): A fat-soluble vitamin that supports the immune system, vision, reproductive health and the chemical communication between your cells
  • Vitamin C: An antioxidant involved in healthy immune function, collagen synthesis, and wound repair
  • Vitamin E: A fat-soluble antioxidant that helps regulate gene expression and may inhibit the development of cardiovascular disease
  • Vitamin B-12: A B vitamin involved in healthy cognitive function, brain ageing, the synthesis of DNA, and the production of red blood cells
  • Folic acid: Another B vitamin that contributes to the conversion of amino acids and the formation of DNA

Minerals In Aloe Vera

  • Calcium: A macromineral involved in bone strength, the contraction of muscles, and metabolic functions
  • Chromium: A trace mineral responsible for blood sugar balance and immune functions
  • Copper: A cofactor involved in the release of energy, the development of certain tissues, and the transmission of nerve impulses
  • Selenium: A trace mineral that contributes to immune defenses, such as the regulation of cell growth and cell death
  • Magnesium: A cofactor involved in the function of hundreds of enzymes including those involved in glucose metabolism, protein synthesis, calcium balance, and blood sugar regulation
  • Manganese: An essential part of an important antioxidant enzyme produced by the body—manganese superoxide dismutase
  • Potassium: A critical mineral and electrolyte concerned with nerve impulses, muscle, and heart contractions
  • Sodium: Another electrolyte involved in muscle function and nerve impulses
  • Zinc: A trace mineral involved in growth, development, reproduction, brain function, and metabolism

Phytonutrients In Aloe Vera

Though these aren’t necessary according to government guidelines, an overwhelming proportion of evidence suggests that many of these plant compounds support excellent health. Aloe vera contains many phytonutrients that are involved in immune responses to damaged tissue, both on the surface and internally. Some of these phytonutrients include:

  • Acemannan
  • Lignans
  • Saponins
  • Sterols
  • Anthraquinones

Enzymes In Aloe Vera

Aloe vera contains at least eight different types of enzymes—alliinase, alkaline phosphatase, amylase, bradykinase, carboxypeptidase, catalase, cellulase, lipase, and peroxidase. Bradykinase can help reduce skin swelling and irritation when applied to the skin. Some of the other enzymes can help the body break down nutrients in the digestive tract and even prompt the recycling of damaged tissue in the body itself.

Additionally, catalase, an enzyme found in most organisms, protects cells from oxidative damage, which is implicated in many diseases, as well as the body’s ageing process.

Health Benefits of Aloe Vera

There are extensive benefits that stem from regularly using and even eating aloe. These effects extend from the skin inward to your circulatory system. From here they can travel through the body promoting good health.

Part of a Healthy, Anti-aging Diet

As you saw earlier, aloe vera is brimming with micronutrients like antioxidants, which help slow the ageing process at the cellular level. But that’s just the tip of the aloe iceberg. One study on women aged 45 years or older found that eating aloe itself improves skin elasticity, boost collagen production, and significantly reduces wrinkles. Though the study was small, it found that sun-damaged skin and sun-protected skin both improved in appearance.

Balances Blood Composition for Cardiovascular Health

Some studies have shown that aloe vera supports normal blood sugar. Researchers reported that 5 active compounds in aloe vera reduced fasting blood sugar levels in mice up to 64% when consumed for four weeks. The same mice showed a 15% decrease in the A1C blood sugar levels. This is significant because high blood sugar increases the presence of free radicals in the blood. It also increases damage to LDL cholesterol, which can lead to arterial plaques and the development of heart disease.

Even better, consuming aloe may support healthy levels of fat in the blood. Some research has shown aloe vera encourages normal LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Stimulates the Immune System

Acemannan, one of the active compounds in aloe vera, provokes the production of proteins that boost your body’s defense against foreign or old, malfunctioning cells. It also encourages greater specialization in your dendritic cells, which are the immune cells that call the police—other immune cells—when they see suspicious activity in their neighborhood.

In an animal study, researchers discovered that eating aloe vera helps the body naturally boost red and white blood cell counts after aggressive medical treatments that suppress them.

Encourages Wound Repair

Aloe vera powder and gel is a common addition to natural skin products and cosmetics because it nourishes, moisturizes, and protects skin. Knowledge of these skin benefits has been widely applied for centuries, dating as a far back as ancient Indian, Roman, Greek, Iberian, and Arab folk medicine. Today, aloe is still used for relatively minor skin complaints, like an uncomfortable sunburn, but it can also soothe scratches, scrapes, burns, rashes, and other skin wounds.

Multiple studies have confirmed that it supports the healing of skin wounds and stimulates cellular rejuvenation. The gel of the aloe plant contains a few different plant compounds that help promote normal skin health. Aloe enzymes support the production of collagen and help your body break down damaged tissue in wounds, while glycoproteins in the gel set the stage for new skin cells to proliferate. Additional research has found that it decreases healing time and for first- and second-degree burns. In human studies, aloe vera gel was found to improve skin integrity in dry, cracked skin and reduce irritation, wrinkling, and irritation from injuries.

Supports Oral Health

Aloe gel also promotes gum and dental health. It soothes swollen gums and protects them from irritating germs. One study found that swishing aloe gel in your mouth is just as effective at cleaning your mouth—if not more so—than commercial mouthwashes.

Promotes Digestive Comfort and Gut Health

Another study indicates that aloe vera can help your stomach naturally cleanse itself of harmful organisms to promote greater comfort. It also helps the cells in your stomach lining increase mucosal production to insulate them from gastric acid. Because of this protective effect, aloe is included in some ulcer medications.

But aloe isn’t just for stomach health, it also promotes gut health. The acemannan in aloe is a complex sugar that you can’t digest, much like fiber, but your microbiota thrives on it. Nurturing the friendly bacteria in your gut with prebiotics like acemannan not only helps preserve your gastrointestinal health, it lays the groundwork for your overall health and well-being.

Protects You From Oxidative Stress

Aloe gel itself contains several antioxidants, like vitamins C and E, selenium, and a few phytonutrients that actively scavenge the free radicals that cause oxidative damage and accelerate the ageing process.

Remarkably, the gel also helps your body produce antioxidants. One of your most powerful antioxidant scavengers is produced by the body, like superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione, which neutralizes superoxides. Consuming aloe gel helps your body increase production of these cunning chemical allies that protect you from oxidative damage.

Inhibits Growth of Harmful Organisms

Your hygiene and the foods you eat are strong determinants of how your body interacts with your microbiota—and how it affects your health in turn. The prebiotic potential of acemannan reinforces your natural defenses against harmful, opportunistic organisms that can compromise your health when your immune system is depressed, otherwise occupied, or when it’s busy repairing other injuries.

Fortunately, aloe not only encourages the growth and health of beneficial probiotic colonies, but it also suppresses the same in colonies of harmful organisms in the skin, injuries, stomach, and the lining of the gut.

The Best Forms of Aloe Vera and How to Get More In Your Diet

The benefits of adding aloe vera to your diet are clear. Make this superfood, with its many vital nutrients and benefits, a part of your daily routine. Many people grow aloe plants at home so that they always have access to this incredible healing plant. It’s a low-maintenance garden and kitchen staple, and it grows easily.

For those looking for the convenience of something ready for immediate use, many aloe vera products, such as juices and supplements, are available online in and in stores.

When you take aloe vera in any form, the nutritional content and bioavailability of its key constituents, like acemannan and other phytonutrients, should be your primary concern. We’ve created an excellent aloe vera supplement called Aloe Fuzion™, made from 100% organic inner leaf aloe vera. If you’re looking for a convenient, natural way to add aloe vera to your diet, ours is the best available.

Health Benefits of Oolong Tea

There is a record of tea being used as a beverage in China since 2,000 B.C.E. Besides water, it is consumed more than any other drink around the world. The four main types of tea are black, green, white, and oolong.

All four varieties come from the Camellia sinensis plant. Herbal teas are not considered true tea because they do not come from the Camellia sinensis plant.

Oolong tea accounts for only 2 percent of tea consumption around the world. Although less popular, oolong tea still has a variety of benefits. Read on to find out more information about oolong tea and its associated health benefits.

What is oolong tea?

Oolong tea is commonly consumed in China and Taiwan. In Asian countries, drinking tea is a large part of the culture and social gatherings. Friends and business associates often meet over tea.

Oolong
Oolong tea has a range of health benefits.

Although all true tea comes from the same plant, the differences occur in the harvesting and processing. Oolong tea is partially fermented, while black tea is fully fermented.

Tea can also differ in amounts and types of antioxidants. Green tea is high in a class of antioxidants known as catechins. Antioxidants in black tea are theaflavins and thearubigins. Oolong tea falls in the middle, regarding the antioxidant amounts.

Oolong tea and green tea contain similar amounts of caffeine, approximately 10 to 60 milligrams (mg) per 8-ounce cup. For comparison, coffee contains approximately 70 to 130 mg of caffeine per 8-ounce cup.

Unsweetened brewed tea is considered a zero-calorie beverage. It contains no fat, carbohydrates, or protein.

Potential health benefits of oolong tea

There are a number of health benefits that are thought to derive from drinking oolong tea, as with other types of tea.

Heart disease

Researchers in China studied the relationship between drinking oolong tea and cholesterol levels, as high cholesterol levels can be associated with an increased risk for heart disease.

They found that people who drank at least 10 ounces of oolong tea per week had lower risks of having high total cholesterol, triglyceride, and LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels. The same was also true of people who drank similar amounts of green and black teas.

People who had been consuming oolong tea for the longest time had lower total cholesterol, triglyceride, and LDL cholesterol levels.

In another study, Japanese men and women were studied for the impact of consuming coffee, green tea, black tea, and oolong tea on their risk of heart disease. Researchers found that men who drank 1 or more cups of oolong tea per day had a lower risk of heart disease.

Weight loss

study in mice showed that the animals receiving oolong tea extract while being fed a high fat, high sugar diet, gained less abdominal fat than mice on the same diet that did not receive the tea extract.

Green tea and black tea extracts also resulted in the less abdominal fat gain. The mice that received the green tea extract also consumed fewer calories.

study in overweight and obese Chinese adults looked at the effect of oolong tea consumption on body weight. Study participants drank 300 milliliters (mL) of oolong tea four times per day. After 6 weeks, more than half of the participants had lost more than 1 kilogram.

Cancer

Researchers in Taiwan examined the association between drinking tea and the risk of head and neck or throat cancer.

Each cup of oolong tea consumed per day equated to a 4 percent lower risk, but the result was not significant. Each cup of green tea consumed per day equated to a 6 percent lower risk for head and neck cancer, which was more significant.

Another study in Chinese women found that drinking green, black, or oolong tea was linked to a decreased risk of ovarian cancer.

However, according to the National Cancer Institute, there is not currently enough research to say for certain that drinking tea decreases cancer risk.

Diabetes

Some studies have shown that drinking 3 or more cups of tea per day is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

However, studies specifically looking at oolong tea have had varied results.

In one study, healthy men drank almost 6 cups per day of oolong tea. At different times, they drank oolong tea that contained supplemental antioxidants, which were in the form of catechins or polyphenols. Each of the teas was consumed for 5 days. Researchers found that drinking oolong tea did not improve blood sugar or insulin levels.

Interestingly, one study found that working men who drank 2 or more cups of oolong tea per day had a higher risk of developing diabetes than men who consumed 1 cup of oolong tea per day or no oolong tea.

Dental health

Fluoride is an element that is often added to drinking water, toothpaste, and mouthwash to help prevent dental cavities.

Tea leaves naturally contain fluoride, so drinking oolong tea could help prevent cavities. Excess fluoride can be harmful, but drinking less than 1 liter of oolong tea per day is safe for most adults.

Other possible benefits:

While there is not enough current research to support the following benefits, drinking tea has also been associated with:

  • healthier gut bacteria
  • lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease
  • lower risk of Parkinson’s disease
  • natural defense from the sun’s ultraviolet rays
  • stronger bones

Studies that examined long-term consumption of oolong tea showed the greatest results. Although it is not a cure for any condition, drinking tea regularly appears to have numerous health benefits.

Risks and Considerations

Oolong Too much
Too much oolong can affect the absorption of iron into the blood.

Although oolong tea contains less caffeine than coffee, people who are sensitive to caffeine should still limit their intake.

Tea can decrease the amount of iron absorbed from plant foods. Also, some researchers found that young children who drank tea were more likely to have lower iron levels.

It may, therefore, be better to drink tea outside of meals to limit its impact on iron absorption. When consumed together at meals, eating foods rich in vitamin C can increase the amount of iron absorbed from plant foods.

Tea is a healthy beverage that has been consumed by people around the world for centuries. Oolong tea is a lesser known variety that may also provide health benefits. However, from some of the research reviewed above, drinking green tea may offer the most health advantages.

Bottled tea contains smaller amounts of beneficial polyphenols and may have excessive amounts of added sugar. If buying bottled teas, it may be better to look for ones that are unsweetened or to brew tea at home and sweeten it with a small amount of honey.

Oolong tea should be steeped for as long as possible to increase flavonoids, and people can consume 2-3 cups per day.

Edamame: Health Benefits, Nutritional Information

Edamame is the perfect little pick-me-up snack. You may have had it as an appetizer at a Japanese restaurant, tucked away in their fuzzy little pods and sprinkled with salt. But what exactly are those little green bean-looking things?

Edamame is a young soybean that has been harvested before the beans have had a chance to harden. You can buy them shelled or in the pod, fresh or frozen.

Edamame is naturally gluten-free and low calorie contains no cholesterol and is an excellent source of protein, iron, and calcium. It is an especially important source of protein for those who follow a plant-based diet.

Possible health benefits of consuming edamame

Edamame
Edamame is a young soybean that has been harvested before the beans have had a chance to harden.

Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions. Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like edamame decreases the risk of obesity and overall mortality, diabetes, heart disease and promotes a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, overall lower weight.

The isoflavones (a type of compound called phytoestrogens) in soy foods have been linked to a decreased risk for osteoporosis, while the calcium and magnesium in soy may help to lessen PMS symptoms, regulate blood sugar and prevent migraine headaches. Soyfood consumption has been associated with a lower risk of several specific age and lifestyle-related conditions and improving overall general health.

1) Age-related brain diseases

Based on geographic epidemiological findings, it has been observed that populations that consume greater amounts of soy have, in general, less incidence of age-related mental disorders.

2) Cardiovascular disease

Consuming soy protein as an alternative to animal protein lowers levels of LDL cholesterol, which in turn decreases the risk of atherosclerosis and high-blood pressure.3

3) Breast and prostate cancer

Genistein, the predominant isoflavone in soy, contains antioxidant properties that inhibit the growth of cancer cells.4 Moderate amounts of soy foods do not affect tumor growth or a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. In fact, at least 10mg of soy per day can decrease breast cancer recurrence by 25%.

4) Depression

The folate in edamame may help with depression by preventing an excess of homocysteine from forming in the body, which can prevent blood and other nutrients from reaching the brain. Excess homocysteine interferes with the production of the feel-good hormones serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which regulate not only mood but sleep and appetite as well.

5) Diabetes

People who suffer from type 2 diabetes often experience kidney disease, causing the body to excrete an excessive amount of protein in the urine. Evidence from a recent study has indicated that those who consumed only soy protein in their diet excreted less protein than those that consumed only animal protein.

6) Fertility

For women of child-bearing age, consuming more iron from plant sources such as edamame, spinach, beans, pumpkin, tomatoes, and beets appear to promote fertility, according to Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publications. Also of note, adequate folic acid intake is essential for pregnant women to protect against neural tube defects in infants. One cup of edamame per day provides 121% of daily folate needs.

7) Energy levels

Not getting enough iron in your diet can also affect how efficiently your body uses energy. Edamame is a great non-heme source of iron, along with lentils, spinach, and eggs.

8) Inflammation

Choline is a very important and versatile nutrient in edamame that aids our bodies in sleep, muscle movement, learning, and memory. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation.

9) Osteoporosis

Soy isoflavones are known to decrease bone loss and increase bone mineral density during menopause and have also been reported to reduce other menopausal symptoms.

Nutritional breakdown of edamame

Edamame is a complete source of dietary protein; meaning that like meat and dairy, it provides all of the essential amino acids needed in the diet that humans cannot make themselves.

The little beans are also high in healthy polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid.

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, one cup (155 grams) of frozen, prepared edamame contains 189 calories, 8 grams of fat (1 gram saturated, 16 grams of total carbohydrate (8 grams of fiber and 3 grams of sugar) and a whopping 17 grams of protein.

A one-cup serving of edamame provides 10% of calcium needs, 16% of vitamin C, 20% of iron, 52% of vitamin K and 121% of your daily needs for folate.

Edamame also contains vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B-6, pantothenic acid, choline, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese.

How to incorporate more edamame into your diet

You can find fresh edamame in the produce section, often still in the pod, but you can also find it already shelled. You can also buy shelled or in-pod frozen edamame as well. If buying frozen, make sure there are no additives in the ingredients, only edamame.

Edamame with salt
The most common way to enjoy edamame is straight from the pod, sprinkle (while still in the pod) with sea salt.

Edamame has a mild, buttery flavor that pairs well with many dishes. You can add it to soups, stews, salads, rice dishes or casseroles in place of or in combination with other beans.

The most common way to enjoy edamame is straight from the pod, after boiling for 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle (while still in the pod) with sea salt, then pop and snack away. You can also substitute edamame when a recipe calls, for peas.

Try some of these delicious and healthy recipes with edamame:

Potential health risks of consuming edamame

Possible risks in consuming soy foods have been heavily debated recently, especially those pertaining to the topic of breast cancer. There is not enough evidence from human clinical trials to substantiate the claim that the isoflavones in soy contribute to breast cancer risk.

The soy and cancer study that started the controversy concerned only those with a specific type breast cancer (estrogen receptor positive). Some early studies suggested possible increased tumor growth in rats with a high intake of soy. As more advanced research was done, scientists found that rats metabolize soy completely different from humans, making the earlier studies invalid.

Now we know that moderate amounts of soy foods do not affect tumor growth or a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. In fact, at least 10mg of soy per day can decrease breast cancer recurrence by 25%.

Findings from animal models have also suggested there is a positive correlation between tumor growth and the degree to which an isoflavone-containing product has been processed. Therefore, it is better to consume tofu and other soy foods that have undergone minimal amounts of processing.3

According to the National Soybean Research Laboratory, unlike the popular genetically engineered soybean, all edamame is non-GMO.

If you have a concern regarding consuming other genetically modified soy foods, go organic. The USDA National Organic Standards prohibit the use of GMOs. You can also look for products with the Non-GMO Project Verified seal. Some brands with this seal include Silk, Amy’s, Back to Nature and WestSoy. For a complete list of products with the verified seal, visit nongmoproject.org.

Keep in mind that it is the total diet or overall eating pattern that is most important for disease prevention and achieving good health. It is better to aim to eat a diet with a variety than to rely on individual foods as the key to good health.